Four F-22A Raptors from Joint Base Langley Eustis, which hosts Raptors of the 1st and 192nd Fighter Wings, deployed to Eglin Air Force Base to conduct integrated training with 58th Fighter Squadron F-35As early this month. The 58th Fighter Squadron “Mighty Gorillas” is the Air Force squadron of the three squadrons within the 33rd Fighter Wing, which is responsible for training Air Force, Navy, and Marine Corps pilots on the three variants of the F-35. The Marine Corps’ VMFAT-501 “Warlords” is the F-35B training squadron in the wing, and the Navy’s VFA-101 “Grim Reapers” is an F-35C squadron training naval aviators.
The teamed aircraft flew interdiction, offensive counter-air, and defensive counter-air missions to gain experience in operating together and learn the complementary capabilities of the two aircraft in flying these missions.
From the very beginning of the protracted development of the two Air Force aircraft, they were intended to operate together, leveraging their stealth and sensor fusion capabilities to outclass all other existing aircraft and penetrate advanced integrated air defense systems. Now, as the F-35A approaches initial operating capability, the Air Force is beginning to work up the aircraft to bring initial concepts of operation to fruition, in operations with both fourth- and fifth-generation aircraft.